Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Media's Castration During the Bush Presidency

The obligation of the media is to represent the people by serving as its watchdog over government. The bedrock of democracy is an educated, knowledgeable populace. As such, free press informs the public, holds leaders accountable, and provides a forum for debate of local and national issues. Freedom of the press is therefore a non-negotiable, fundamental prerequisite for a functional democracy. But since 2000, in the most secretive, media-hostile administration in our nation's history, the mainstream media has been neutered like a six-month old Labrador. It's allowed the Busheviks to rape the constitution with impunity, making a mockery of our sacred rule of law and turning the United States into a near Monarchy. As anyone who watches a White House press conference can attest to, the press fears speaking out against Bush, who has gotten a free pass for six years now despite having a presidency wrought with lies, corruption and miserable failure. And it's Americans who suffer as a result. If not for the advent of blogging and the power of 'netroots reporting, Bush would truly be king, and our citizenry would be completely ignorant of the truth.

If the press wanted to do its job it has plenty to work with, chiefly: (1) the failure of the Iraq war and the deception it was built on; (2) the colossal distraction of Iraq on the war against Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and terrorism worldwide; (3) unprecedented criminal behavior by the president, his cabinet and several GOP leaders (CIA leak, illegal wiretappings, US attorney firings, etc). Why on Earth then is Bush continually allowed to duck the hotseat, like he was at a recent press conference when he blew off repeated questions about the Valerie Plame scandal with four "Pete, ain't gonna discuss that" deflections? Whatever happened to the media grabbing its nuts and demanding, "No, Mr. President, that is unacceptable from the President of the United States in times of crisis. The American people demand to know what your personal involvement was in this scandal." What the hell's going on in that White House Press Room these days? Bush says "I ain't gonna talk" and the media shoves its collective tail between its legs? How about embarrassing him to the point of capitulation. Or at least to the point of causing severe political damage to him and his party. Just what is the press so afraid of? Perhaps, as Dan Rather suggested last week on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, they're just too darned cushy with the Bushies and don't want to lose their coveted access and dinner invites.

Back in the 90's, the Repugs crucified Bill Clinton for lying under oath. To this day, they still refer to this "lying under oath" as the foundation of their legal and moral justification for Bubba's impeachment. Yet these hypocrites all refuse to testify to anything under oath--be it to the 911 Commission or to the Judiciary Committee regarding the current attorney firings scandal--because they know damn well just how much they're guilty of lies, deception and treason.

To the U.S. mainstream free press, wake up and do your job already and stop letting this president and his crooked cohorts walk all over you.

On another subject......we could use your help at The Adrienne Shelly Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated in my wife's honor to help carry out her spirit and passion, with the goal of assisting women filmmakers. As you may know, Adrienne was brutally killed in NYC on November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmkaing lives on. We've finalized a scholarship with NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; and grants with Columbia University, American Film Institute, NY Women in Film and Television, and the Independent Feature Project. Other initiatives will follow. Please visit our website to learn more about our mission and to make a donation. Every little contribution helps preserve Adrienne's legacy, and to help create something positive out of this horrible tragedy. Thank you.

Adrienne's film "Waitress" will hit theatres May 2nd. Early reviews have been terrific. A link to the trailer is below. Enjoy.


Anonymous said...

Tony Snow has been a smarmy as they come the last few days. GOP credibility is non-existant. A few journalists and reporters are beginning to throw the hard questions and Snow is squirming like a toad (Sorry, Jim Morrison)! If the media would bring it on, as they are supposed to do to inform the public, we would see the beginning of the end of the Bush badministration. Or maybe it's already happening!

Anonymous said...

It's not their fault that they're always rawwwrong...(Sorry, Marilyn Manson.)

Anonymous said...

The only time Clinton lied is when he pleaded guilty to lying under oath. The Republican decendent of Ken Starr at the time threatened to continue to run up huge legal bills after Clinton left office, but promised to drop everything forever if he would plead guilty to "misleading" a federal judge.

What Clinton did was swear that he did not have sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky, quite clearly meaning vaginal intercourse. Clinton publicly made this clear at the time, that he had had oral sex with her, but did not consider that to be "sexual relations." THIS WAS WIDELY REPORTED AT THE TIME, THEN DROPPED IN FAVOR OF THE "HE LIED UNDER OATH" TALE.

Anonymous said...

The media deliberately mis-informs the public and censors information. After all, censorship is becoming America's favorite past-time. The US gov't (and their corporate friends), already detain protesters, ban books like "America Deceived" America Deceived (book) from Amazon and Wikipedia, and fire 21-year tenured, BYU physics professor Steven Jones because he proved explosives, thermite in particular, took down the WTC buildings. Mainstream media is dead.

Anonymous said...

Bravo! This needs to be said and said again until the media actually pay attention! The mainstream media seem much more interested in matters of extreme unimportance, focusing on celebrities' lives (Britney Spears' latest rehab efforts, Angelina Jolie's new adoption) and other trivialities perhaps because these topics grab ratings and attention. What the media don't seem to realize is that they've been voluntarily co-opted by this administration by not pursuing questions which need answers. The Founding Fathers realized that a press free to examine all issues, to debate them, and to inform the citizenry was the foundation of a democracy. It is painfully obvious that the media have been castrated by their own choice!

Anonymous said...

Corruption and the desire for personal gain have ruined our country. This is true from the federal government, through to state government and even down to personal business relations by ordinary people. Watch out when you hire anybody to do a job on your house, your car, etc., or when you buy insurance, a used car. etc."

Since the exposure of Armstrong Williams, Judith Miller and the like, I feel that those in the media have been bought/paid. They are not stupid, and they know how to do a good job. What other reason than money or favors could there be?

Post American said...

I've been having running battles with my local rag, The Albuquerque Journal! They have simply stopped reporting on the "War" in Iraq. The systematic underreporting of daily violence in the territorial pissing in Iraq is a scandal. We should be surrounding the "News" Media's glass houses!
There isn't any mention of the following in today's ABQ Journal! sad

Wednesday: 72 Iraqis Killed, 88 Wounded
2,012 days since WMD said he'd catch UBL???

Anonymous said...

I can't possibly agree more with this article. Years ago I wrote to my local news channel, the ABC affiliate in the Denver area, and told them pretty near the same thing, how it was their job to tell us the INPORTANT things, not whether Brittney Spears had had a boob job or not. I told them that their job was vitally important to the health of the country, and that without them telling us the truth and the important stories, we couldn't possibly vote with any intelligence.

I got back a very terse email telling me that that was just MY opinion.

This article is dead on.

Anonymous said...

Excellent point crusader -
I send good web info to my local TV and paper all the time -
these locals don't seem to get it -
what they tell people shapes public opinion and hell, we have an army base nearby - connecting the dots starts with US - otherwise the "news" might as well be "all britney all the time".
good work

Anonymous said...

Point 1: Republicans thought they could perpetuate their agenda and avoid another Watergate if they could control traditional media.

Point 2: Mainstream media is doing now what it did when Joe McCarthy was running rampant. It is simply regurgitating the party line.

Point 3: The Internet is currently serving the same purpose that faxes and xeroxes did during the last days of the Soviet Union. It provides an alternative to official propaganda and in scares those in power. Thus, the powers that be want to control it. That is the primary reason for all the talk about protecting the children from bad websites - even if it is a the cost of free speech.

Anonymous said...

85% of Fox News viewers thought Sadam was directly responsible for 9/11. Thank God for the Internet, although this last bastion of freedom will soon be regulated out of existence as well.

Anonymous said...

"Obligation of the media" -- What 11th grade civics class did you crawl out of?? The 'obligation' of the media in capitalist society is to serve as a combination news service and propaganda arm to help maintain the system, to keep everyone working within it. The grovelling of the press is more or less a normal state of affiars and most recently reflected an overall consensus of big business with the thrust of Bush's policies - heck, they hired him! That's only broken down to the extent that the Iraqis and, in their wake, domestic politics have forced the matter. After all, getting to write agency rules and legislation is nice and dandy, but having a bunch of demented psychopaths messing things up for the U.S. is even a little too much for the likes of some of the corporate Right.

Anonymous said...

...... uh, ...... yeah .....
every time i begin to feel like MAYBE, just MAYBE, America MIGHT survive our pig-headed, selfish, short-sighted ways, - somebody appears REAL QUICK to remind me that it is f***ing hopeless -
thanks "Anonymous 7:40 PM"

Anonymous said...

Al Gore testified on global warming yesterday up on Capitol Hill, but refused to take a pledge to use no more energy than the average household. In other words, do as I say, not as I do. Everybody is supposed to drive a hybrid car, turn down their thermostats, shun gasoline and use less energy. Everybody that is, except Al Gore. But Democrats and the media can't stop fawning anyway.

So with all sorts of special treatment, Al Gore testified about global warming to the House Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday. In order to not have to listen to Republican opening statements, he arrived late. That's a bit rude, isn't it? But a Republican panel member got even by reading a newspaper while Gore rambled on. Then there was the issue of Gore's written testimony. According to the rules of the committee, he's supposed to have it in 48 hours before his appearance. But Gore didn't submit it until yesterday morning. Oh well ... he's a Democrat. Rules are for Republicans.

After that, it was the usual nonsense. Global warming is going to kill us all...and so on. To hear Gore tell it, we are in the middle of a national emergency...and if we don't act, the planet will be lost. Yet the discussion and the debate is one-sided. Nobody wants to talk about the possibility that there just may be another view. The cause of global warming has become an anti-capitalist religion for Leftists who hate the United States.

Then it was back to Nashville. Got to be sure the local power company gets their $1,200 a month.

One lousy degree in over 100 years. Yeah ... we're in trouble.

Anonymous said...

So Neal, what's your point? Did the media report right or wrong for you regarding Gore? Or is it that you aren't hearing what widdle Neally wants to hear? Republican BS is exactly that. Stick to the topic.

Anonymous said...

"but refused to take a pledge to use no more energy than the average household. In other words, do as I say, not as I do." "Got to be sure the local power company gets their $1,200 a month."

I see you got your right-wing talking points down pat.

Al Gore uses no energy that adds to pollution at all. Zero. Nada. He uses clean energy that is generated in a manner that does not add to the greenhouse effect. It costs more than dirty energy. Since he uses less dirty energy than the average household, none at all, the pledge is a red herring designed by right-wingers to confuse the public.

"Then there was the issue of Gore's written testimony. According to the rules of the committee, he's supposed to have it in 48 hours before his appearance. But Gore didn't submit it until yesterday morning."

The same rules permit the committee chair to waive the rules, which is what was done. As Imhofe found out, the Republicans do not make the committee rules any more.

All these are phony issues dragged up by the global warming denyers to divert the public from the fact that Gore has the respectable science overwhelmingly on his side. The few serious scientists who still question global warming are almost all in the pay of the polluting corporations.

Anonymous said...

Now back to the main subject:

The fundamental reality about freedom of the press, is that you do not have freedom of the press unless you control a press. Virtually all of our broadcast media is owned and therefore controlled by a small number of corporate conglomorates, who determine what the American people are allowed to hear and not hear. On the broadcast media ordinary Americans do not have freedom of the press, only a small number of corporations do.
Fortunately, the Interent provides an alternative media on which ordinary Americans do have freedom of the press, and it is underming the Corporate media's control over what Americans can and cannot hear.
It is absolutely essential that Net Neutrality be maintained so that the Corporate interests can be kept from getting control of the Internet too.

Anonymous said...

When I saw this title I thought that this would be an interesting and informative article but I'm really disappointed.
Why does the media have any obligation to the public? Are there FCC regulations that require licensed media to inform anyone?
It uses public airways but I'm not aware of any obligation to inform the public.
Mass media is 100% owned and controlled by massive international corporations. Corporations have one obligation and that is to maximize return to the stockholders.
Governments may regulate corporations generally and as a condition of licensing.
Why would news programming be any different from other programming. The purpose of most media programming is to provide an entertaining product that will attract prospective customers to watch advertising.
I think to understand media you really must start there.

Anonymous said...

Media has DEVOLVED into entertainment and mouthpieces for their owners political stances. Not to mention the notion of control the media - control the country coming into the very fabric of "free press". No, the news used to be just the news without spin and opinion. Media corporations saw it as a service and not a money maker. Review old news footage of the Kennedy Assination and there's blow by blow descriptions of events without commentary or political slant. Now, it's about the ratings and the money. That's why news media on radio and TV stinks. It's back to the days of WR Hearst's yellow journalism.

Anonymous said...

Re: 9:30. News reporters have the obligation to report the news as it happens without injecting personal opinion or interpretation. It's just as doctors have the obligation to cure/heal without judging or deciding who should/can live and who should die. Judges have the obligation to adhere to the law without personal gain or bias.

If TV news orgnizations consider themselves entertainment outlets, or even fiction, then it is of course not the product of news reporting and the public must consider the content for what it is. However, a democracy needs a free press reporting the news as it is. We must insist on that.